A City Action Plan addresses a wide range of short-term and long-term measures, with the aim of preventing plastic from entering the environment, waterways and ultimately the ocean

TARGET USERS: Government

KEY CONSIDERATIONS: A well developed City Action Plan on plastic requires a holistic approach that identifies target problems, engages local stakeholders, and implements solutions, all of which require the allocation of city resources.

    MORE INFORMATION: See Oslo's City Action Plan



    Our growing waste stream is uniquely representative of the many challenges now facing our global community. With 8-12 million tons of plastic waste entering the ocean annually, and with global waste generation expected to increase by 70% over the next 30 years, plastic waste prevention and management programs are critical to the health and well-being of our urban populations. Poorly managed plastic waste affects human health and livelihoods, it effects our environment, living creatures, and economic opportunities.



    A well developed City Action Plan on plastic waste is critical to ensuring a sustainable, healthy, and inclusive global community. 

    First, we must take inventory by monitoring our local waste stream, collecting hard data to guide our city strategy. Second, we must commit resources to educate, motivate and mandate - both individuals and industry - to adopt waste prevention strategies that reduce the volume of waste that must be collected and managed at the local level. Third, we must employ a scalable waste management program that adheres to the universal waste hierarchy, understanding that the largest gains in reducing pollution can often come from improving waste collection and processing methods.

    Today an estimated 60% of plastic marine debris comes from urban centers, as polluted waterways carry plastic pollution to the ocean. While Cities will rapidly increase their population density to account for two-thirds of the global population by 2050, they must also continue to adopt smart solutions that reduce the collective impact of their prospering communities. This means preventing, minimizing and managing plastic waste.

    There are many initiatives already underway at the international level. But city level action is arguably even more important, as cities operate on the ground. Cities can take a leading role by implementing a City Action Plan, which outlines key focus areas, measures to be implemented and monitoring processes to measure successful outcomes. Ongoing monitoring is critical to ensuring that the City Action Plan continues to drive innovation and solve local plastic waste challenges.

    Leading the way with their very own City Action Plan, is the City of Oslo. The municipality wants to encourage innovative and smart solutions that can be scaled up and further developed. Together, the City of Oslo and its inhabitants will contribute to a sustainable development that takes care of Oslo as a coastal city and protects its values ​​for future generations. In order for Oslo to succeed in the efforts to reduce unnecessary use of plastic and disposable single use articles, they have committed to a holistic approach that takes into account several sectors, while at the same time cooperating with actors within the field of waste management.

    The overall goal of the City Action Plan is:

    • Reducing unnecessary use of plastic and disposable items in Oslo municipality and the city as a whole
    • Preventing marine pollution
    • Cleaning up the inner Oslofjord 

    Key directions for circular governance in Oslo's City Action Plan, include:

    1. Cooperation with different stakeholders is essential in developing a realistic (but ambitious) action plan. This will contribute to a stronger sense of ownership to the content and consequently stronger efforts of commitment.
    2. When developing an action plan one should work in parallel with developing a results framework to ensure the ability to measure results and the effects of adopted measures.
    3. Anchoring of the action plan should be made at a high level to ensure political commitment, however also down the line to the different municipal bodies to ensure sound follow-up of measures.

    The City has also hired full time staff to coordinate and follow-up the action plan and its measures. They have an internal resource group responsible for helping out with efforts internally and for reviewing the plan every second year. They also lean on external actors whenever needed.

    The City has also put in place a mechanism for funding projects/initiatives which contribute to the goals of the action plan. There is a high focus on cooperation both internally and with external actors, both of the private sector, NGOs and others.

    In 2020, the City will audit the action plan, and update its contents for a new period starting 2021, based on their progress and experiences made during the last 1.5 years.  



    A City Action Plan includes a holistic approach to addressing plastic use, reuse, recycling and disposal. Therefore, the action plan can include a host of solutions and Best Practices that are featured here, and that are capable of reaching the plan's objectives.



    City of Oslo

    To prevent plastic from entering the environment and reaching the Oslo Fjord, and to remove existing plastic pollution, an action plan with short-term and long-term measures was co-created by many stakeholders in Oslo.

    The collaboration of several municipal sectors was unique in this project. It was cooperation of the Agency for Urban Environment, Agency for Improvement and Development, Agency for Waste Management, Agency for Water and Sewerage Works, Agency for Planning and Building Services (including the urban ecology hub “By Kuben”), and Oslo Port Authority.

    Oslo initiated many actions in order to reach the goal. The action plan provides the city administration, for instance, with concrete tools on how to act circular and reduce the consumption on single-use plastics and encourage other stakeholders to do the same. In order to stimulate citizens' initiatives, it is important to promote sharing and functional economy as well as raise awareness and coach the citizens.

    To stimulate entrepreneurs and innovation, the city of Oslo creates incentives to attract circular business.

    For more information, see Oslo's City Action Plan.

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